PG-13, 1990, 119 minutes, closed captioned, Touchstone Home Video, $19.99.
"Pretty Woman" is a working girl indeed, not just some underemployed wretch in a typing pool but an honest-to-God streetwalking Cinderella who finds her Prince Charming, a Wall Street tycoon lost along Hollywood's Boulevard of Stars. A tale of two hustlers, this romp reminds us, as if we could forget between money movies, that there is a great similarity between the Street and the streets. Julia Roberts and Richard Gere star in this bubbly scamper, which goes to your head like champagne -- the sweet kind that leaves you with a throbbing head. But champagne is champagne after all, and Roberts is sheer carbonation as a good prostitute -- she has been driven by circumstances to sell herself -- who is rescued by Gere. A boardroom whiz bang recently dumped by his lover, Gere is befuddled when it comes to maintaining a relationship. An emotional cheapskate, he is in turn rescued by Roberts, a bundle of cuteness to whom he plays Pygmalion. Their chance encounter turns into a week of happy extravagance and, mutually captivated, they feed happily off one another's neediness till they fall smack in love. Directed by Garry Marshall, a veteran of TV sitcoms and movie dramedies, the movie dances along, a whirl of fashion shows, magic moments, mush and tart romance. With its sure direction and captivating performances -- Gere hasn't been this likable since "An Officer and a Gentleman" -- "Pretty Woman" seduces all but the most wary. -- Rita Kempley
THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
PG, 1990, 135 minutes, closed captioned, Paramount Home Video, $99.95.
"The Hunt for Red October," the Sean Connery movie based on the Tom Clancy novel, is a leviathan relic of an age that no longer exists. It's also a leviathan bore, big, clunky and ponderously overplotted. Here's what happens: On a cold December morning in Polyarnyy, the submarine Red October -- which because of a special propulsion system is virtually invisible to all conventional forms of detection -- puts out to sea with Marko Ramius (Connery), the Soviets' most respected submarine commander, at the helm. The immediate assumption is that the Soviets have a lunatic on their hands. But a young hotshot named Ryan (Alec Baldwin) who specializes in naval research for the CIA figures out that Ramius is a defector who may be attempting to turn himself and his revolutionary new sub over to the Americans. The problem with the movie, though, is that nothing much happens, at least not onscreen. "Die Hard" director John McTiernan and cinematographer Jan de Bont have crowded the frame with the candy-colored lights of flashing control boards, dials, sonar screens and digital readouts, and they've given the submarines' cramped quarters a rich, dense texture. But besides this and the actors' faces, which bear down on us in super close-up, there isn't much to look at. Clancy and McTiernan aren't much interested in character, though; they're interested in hardware. Clancy gives us enough factual detail for three pictures, and this one makes you wish it were possible to skim through movies as well as novels. -- Hal Hinson
THE ADVENTURES OF MILO AND OTIS
G, 1990, 76 minutes, closed captioned, RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, $89.95.
They just don't come any cuter than "The Adventures of Milo and Otis," a heartwarming, tail-thumping story about a curious kitten and his pug-nosed puppy pal. Enthusiastically narrated by Dudley Moore, this cuddlesome take on Old MacDonald's place follows the best buddies from their bucolic barnyard home to the scary forests adjoining the farm. Less a nature story than an anthropomorphic fairy tale, it teaches loyalty to friends, devotion to family and tolerance among peoples -- whether cats, dogs, foxes or hens. Natural enemies live in magical harmony, and the laws of eat-or-be-eaten do not necessarily apply. The animal cast is directed by Japanese zoologist and author Masanori Hata from a screenplay by Mark Saltzman, an Emmy-winning writer from "Sesame Street." Four paws up. -- Rita Kempley
I LOVE YOU TO DEATH
R, 1989, 97 minutes, closed captioned, RCA/Columbia Home Video, $92.95.
In "I Love You to Death," Lawrence Kasdan's amiable lazybones of a comedy about a wife's violent revenge on her womanizing husband, Kevin Kline looks as if he's had a Marcello Mastroianni makeover. As the indomitable Joey Boca, plumber, landlord and owner of Joey's Pizzeria, he's a smooth-operating Lothario cruising on olive-oiled wheels. His wife, Rosalie -- played by Tracey Ullman -- is lost in sweet obliviousness and knows nothing of her husband's philandering. When Devo (River Phoenix), the golden-tressed young busboy at the pizzeria, warns her of Joey's unfaithfulness, she shuts her ears. A visit to the public library changes everything, though. After catching her husband fondling one of his slinkier tenants between the bookshelves, Rosalie first considers suicide, then decides it's Joey who must die. After she begins plotting her husband's demise, "I Love You to Death" becomes a comedy of murderous ineptitude. Kline gives Joey a simpleton's uncomplicated zest. The actor has never been more physically inventive than he is here; every part of his anatomy is in character. As Mama Nadja, Rosalie's tabloid-mad Yugoslav mother, Joan Plowright has delicious comic timing. And as Harlan and Marlon, a pair of stumblebum junkies Rosalie hires to finish Joey off, William Hurt and Keanu Reeves invent their own odd variety of spaced-out free association. Nice as this may be, though, the movie lacks an essential dynamism. Despite its mixture of macabre slapstick and broadly stroked caricatures, it has sleepy-time rhythms. It's a movie oddly out of touch with itself, simultaneously anarchic and flaccid. -- Hal Hinson